Spring Training Game Thirty-One – Cubs 1, Mets 8
WP – Steven Matz (1-2) LP – Jason Hammel (2-2) Save – None
Joe Maddon’s regulars made a cameo appearance on Friday afternoon at Cashman Field. Jason Hammel was charged with two runs, one earned, in four innings and the offense was non-existent as the Cubs split the two-game exhibition series with the Mets.
The Cubs did not have a hit for the first five innings. Steven Matz put together his best outing of the spring against Maddon’s spring roster. Matz quieted a lot of concerns with five no-hit innings. The Cubs walked twice against the lefty and struck out six times.
Tommy La Stella (1-for-2 with a double and a run scored) collected the first hit in the sixth and scored the only run. John Andreoli (0-for-1 with a walk and a RBI) worked a bases loaded walk and forced in La Stella. Andreoli turned in two of the Cubs highlights on the afternoon. Andreoli threw out Marc Krauss at the plate for the first out in the seventh inning.
Munenori Kawasaki (2-for-3) recorded the Cubs other two hits.
Jason Hammel completed his spring with a solid outing. Hammel pitched the first four innings and for the most part appeared to be on the same page with Kyle Schwarber. Hammel threw strikes and kept the ball down. When he elevated, the Mets squared him up.
Hammel gave up an unearned run in the second after Michael Conforto led off with a single to left. Asdrubal Cabrera went down swinging. Travis d’Arnaud singled to center. Steven Matz bunted both runners up 90 feet. Hammel got the ground ball he needed. Ben Zobrist made an excellent diving stop in short right center field. The Cubs were in the shift for Curtis Granderson. Zobrist’s throw to first was low, but Anthony Rizzo appeared to scoop it. The ball got away from Rizzo, Conforto scored on what was ruled as a throwing error. Hammel struck out David Wright swinging to end the inning.
Yoenis Cespedes made it 2-0 in the third with a solo home run, his first longball of the spring. Cespedes pulled a hanging breaking ball over the wall in left.
Jason Hammel allowed at least one hit in each of his four innings on Friday afternoon and gave up just two runs on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Hammel made 68 pitches, 44 for strikes.
The Cubs defense stepped up behind lefty C.J. Riefenhauser in the fifth. Tommy La Stella made two good plays at third to take hits away from Wilmer Flores and Eric Campbell.
Andury Acevedo was tagged for a run in the sixth and it might have been more if not for a sensational diving catch in right center by Albert Almora Jr.
T.J. Rivera led off the sixth with a double to left. Alejandro De Aza rolled out to Kris Negron at second base. Rivera moved up to third with one out. Matt Reynolds was robbed of at least a double by Almora Jr.
Rivera tagged and scored from third base with the Mets third run. d’Arnaud flied out to Almora Jr. in center to end the inning.
The Mets put the exhibition game away in the eighth and tacked on the ninth against minor leaguers Michael Wagner and Felix Pena.
Ty Kelly hit a three-run homer off Wagner in the eighth. Pena served up back-to-back homers in the ninth to Eric Campbell and T.J. Rivera.
With Friday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 11-18-2 in Spring Training.
The Cubs will spend Saturday’s day off in Anaheim. Joe Maddon’s team has one more practice game on the spring slate. The Cubs and Angels square off on Sunday afternoon (2:05pm CDT) at The Big A. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to take on Matt Shoemaker in the Spring Training finale.